Thursday, May 30, 2024

gluten-free dairy-free banana-cranberry muffins

I got this recipe from Mama Knows Gluten Free, but of course, as per usual Mamatouille style, I changed it for our tastes and what I have available. They were so moist and filling! 

You'll need:
  • 4 small bananas or 3 bigger ones, mashed
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • big dashes of cinnamon
  • big dashes of powdered ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free baking mix
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • about 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Do this:

Mix mix mix and bake bake bake at 350/170 for about 15 minutes.

Eat eat eat.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

gluten-free and dairy-free spicy chocolate mug muffin

I've been making mug muffins for years and decided to spice it up a little! 

You'll need:
  • 1 tablespoon oil, plus more for greasing the mug
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicory powder
  • generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • dash of vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Do this:

Grease a big mug. (Not your face mug.) Crack an egg in there and beat it with a fork, then add everything else and beat that too. Cover and cook at 600 watts for 1.5 minutes in your microwave, then splash on some soy milk and homemade chocolate sauce (or you can break up some dairy-free chocolate into the muffin before cooking). 

Spicy chocolate? Oh my! 

middle-eastern style fusion renkon (lotus root)


Normally I make very traditional Japanese renkon (lotus root) with soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, but I was making some eggplant fritters with some warm Middle Eastern spices and decided to experiment on a lotus-root side dish to match it. I absolutely loved it! 

You'll need:
  • one fresh chunk of lotus root
  • tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • powdered cumin
  • powdered coriander
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika 
  • salt
Do this:

Wash, peel, slice, and soak your lotus root slices in water for a little while. You can do this earlier in the day and put it in the fridge in the water. Then drain.

In a frying pan, saute the slices in olive oil, then add some squirts of tomato paste and all the seasonings. Stir and cook till a little bit bubbly, and serve with your favorite Middle Eastern main dish. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

gluten-free and dairy-free rice-flour pancakes with a carrot-cake pancakes variation and a turmeric variation

I'll start with the basic rice-flour pancake recipe that I nabbed (and slightly changed) from Laura Fuentes, then show you two variations that we love and that I made up myself! 

Rice-Flour Pancakes 

You'll need:

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups soy milk (or milk of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) or cornstarch
Do this:

Mix it all up in a bowl dance party, then cook in oil on a griddle. Yum yum. I like mine with honey or peanut butter. 

Carrot-Cake Rice-Flour Pancakes

You'll need:
  • the above ingredients
  • two grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Warm and Spicy Carrot-Apple Turmeric Pancakes

You'll need:
  • the basic rice-flour pancake ingredients
  • one grated carrot
  • two peeled and finely chopped apples
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • dash of nutmeg
If you can't finish these in one sitting with your family, they freeze well between baking paper and sealed in a freezer bag. These recipes work for 4 of us, and anything leftover I eat during the week when my guys have oatmeal. 

Bon pancake appetit! 

elana's pantry's (sort of) paleo fruitcake

This is a cake from Elana's Pantry that I try to make every Christmas, and I use two small glass loaf pans that I grease first. Two of these tiny cakes don't seem like much, but they are dense. I tend to use whatever dried fruit I can find here in Japan. (It's not totally Paleo because I don't use the coconut ingredients that she calls for.)

You'll need: 
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dates, with pits removed and then chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (I usually use dried cranberries instead)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (or soak the fruit in orange curacao instead)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Do this:

Combine your dry ingredients, then add in the fruit and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients, and then stir them into the dry ones.

Into your greased mini loaf pans they go.

Bake 350/170 for 20-30 minutes, and try not to eat it up all at once. 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

gluten-free vegan yaki udon

This has quickly become one of our favorites. It comes via FitGreenMind, aka Maya from Germany on Instagram. That girl has great recipes, but I had to change a couple things for us with what we have available here in Japan. 

You'll need:
  • gluten-free udon noodles, cooked according to package directions (they come in small individual-sized packets here, so I get four for us)
  • veggies of choice (I use cabbage or komatsuna greens, plus onions and carrots)
  • hard tofu (I buy a 300-gram pack), drained and cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
  • salt to taste
  • a little bit of water 
  • chopped green onions
Do this:

Stir fry the veggies in oil, then add in the cooked udon noodles and brown a little bit. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over, then add your cubed tofu. Stir it all up till browned and sticky. Top with chopped green onions. 

All of us love this.

Go yaki some udon already! 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

gluten-free vegan blonde brownies


These gluten-free vegan blonde brownies come by way of FitGreenMind on Instagram, the popular account of a German girl named Maya who makes great videos and comes up with delicious recipes. 

You'll need:

  • 1 can (450 g) chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup (75 g) peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) flour (I use a gluten-free baking mix)
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • dark vegan chocolate (a bar, chopped, or chips)
Do this:

Drain the chickpeas and rinse them, then add to a food processor with all the ingredients except for the chocolate. Process until smooth.

Add the batter to a bowl, then stir in the chocolate. 

Line a loaf pan with baking paper and add the mix, flatten it out, and bake at 170 C for 35 minutes. Let it cool completely, then cut into bars.

These are so more-ish! 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

quick and easy gluten-free oyakodon (Japanese chicken and egg dish)

I've been making oyakodon, a Japanese chicken and egg dish to put on top of a bowl of rice, for years and years. The recipe I had was a bit complicated and time-consuming, so I was happy when a friend here in Japan passed along a simpler version. I can't remember where it's from exactly, and I've changed it a little bit anyway, so here's my take. This makes enough for four people. 

You'll need: 
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed and chopped
  • any kind of mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • oil for cooking
  • 4 tablespoons cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup homemade dashi (with konbu and katsuobushi flakes)
  • 4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
Do this:

Heat up your oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken till all the pieces are browned. Add the mushrooms and onions, then all the liquids and sugar. When everything is soft, add the spinach for a minute and then dump the eggs over it all and let it set till cooked. 

Serve over rice in a bowl, and add all those delicious juices and then eat with a spoon. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

easy chili


I served this with grated soy cheese, tortilla chips, and salad. (Would be great with cornbread too!) Normally I do a chili with kabocha squash, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, but it was nice to have a more traditional one for a change.

You'll need:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 piman (small Japanese green peppers, chopped (or 1 chopped regular green pepper)
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 kg ground beef
  • 2 450ml cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 450ml cans chopped tomatoes (add water to the empty cans to swish out the tomato remains into the chili pot, for a total of about 1 can of water)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Do this: 

Saute the onions, green pepper, and garlic in oil in a soup pot, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir till the ground beef is in small pieces. Simmer about 20 minutes or more if you have time.


Substitute half the ground beef with cooked lentils.

Add a teaspoon of cumin if you like it. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

dairy-free turmeric latte + dairy-free gluten-free turmeric latte pancakes

I've been making turmeric lattes (or golden milk) for a long time, but then completely forgot about them until my friend reminded me again the other day. Now I'm making these delicious healthy drinks about every other day! I originally got the recipe from BBC Good Food

Well then I brainstormed and thought why not make some turmeric latte pancakes! They were easy and spicy and delicious, and I topped them with soy cream that I whipped with a little vanilla and powdered sugar, then a drizzle of honey. 

First, the latte.

You'll need (for two lattes):
  • 350 ml or so of dairy-free milk (I use soy)
  • 1/4 t. ginger powder
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. honey
  • black pepper to taste
Do this:

Throw it all in a pot on the stove on medium flame/heat and whisk till hot and frothy.

Now for the pancakes! 

You'll need:
  • 150 g gluten-free and dairy-free pancake or baking mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger powder
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
(For the whipped cream I whipped 200 ml soy cream with 1/4 t. vanilla and 1 t. powdered sugar.)

Do this: 

Whisk the pancake ingredients together and cook on a griddle or frying pan in a little oil on both sides. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of honey.

This made about 12 small pancakes. 

Joy joy enjoy! 

sweet and spicy nuts


A lovely friend shared some of these sweet and spicy nuts with us on her boat on the Thames last summer, and when I asked for the recipe, she wrote it up in her beautiful handwriting and mailed it to me. It came originally from Gordon Ramsay.

You'll need:

  • 300 g mixed nuts (whole, blanched, unsalted)
  • 2.5 tablespoons icing/powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • black pepper
Do this:

Mix nuts, powdered sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper in a big bowl, then grind over some black pepper. Tip the nuts into a hot wok/frying pan, then sprinkle over about 1 tablespoon of water to help it all caramelize. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring or shaking constantly till browned. Dump it all onto a baking tray lined with baking paper in a single layer. Put in 140 C oven for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally. 

Serve with love in a glass jar on a boat on the Thames or in a bowl in your living room in Japan. Give as gifts in jars for birthdays or just as a love-note of crunchy joy. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

favorite new year's black-eyed peas

I've experimented through the years and riffed many times on my grandma's black-eyed peas New Year's Day tradition. We think
this year's was the best so far.

And I believe that part of the flavor came from gratitude; I finished cooking this pot of beans on January 1, 2024, just before our Ishikawa Prefecture earthquake hit at 16:16. We survived and so did our black-eyed peas. (Normally I would serve these with cornbread, but after evacuating from the house and coming back later in the evening, I shakily defrosted some frozen rice instead.)

You'll need:

  • Bacon fat
  • Chopped bacon
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Komatsuna greens (mustard greens)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green beans
  • Veggie bouillon
  • Tomato paste
  • Bay leaf
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried parsley 
  • 500 g dried black-eyed peas
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
Do this: 

In a stock pot, saute onions, garlic, bay leaf, and komatsuna greens in a big wad of bacon fat. Add in the chopped bacon and cook through, then some chopped green beans. Next, add the black-eyed peas that you have soaked overnight in the fridge and then drained. Cover all of it with water and throw in your seasonings and tomato paste. Simmer until the beans are soft and a lot of the liquid has evaporated.

The only measured ingredient was those black-eyed peas. All the rest was conjured with love. 

Add in or detract as you desire. You know what your family likes. 

Everyone in mine said this was the best version yet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

gluten-free dairy-free seafood tomato chowder

I bought frozen shrimp and frozen katsuo fish (skipjack tuna), knowing I would come up with something delicious. Riffing off this recipe for spicy tomato seafood chowder, this is my Mamatouille version, using ingredients available in Japan. 

You'll need:
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • celery, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • carrot, peeled and chopped
  • one bunch of komatsuna greens or spinach, washed and chopped small (including stems)
  • one bay leaf
  • 6 cups water + 2 beef, chicken, or veggie bouillon powder sticks
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • dried parsley
  • paprika (powder)
  • 2 small jars (about 8 oz. or 240 ml each) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • seafood of choice (I chopped shrimp and katsuo fish)
  • top with grated non-dairy soy cheese
Do this:

Saute the veg in big glugs of olive oil, add water and bouillon, and simmer till the veg are tender. Add in the rest of the ingredients and bubble, bubble, toil, and no trouble. 

Serve topped with grated non-dairy soy cheese and a side of rice-flour bread rolls.

Peachy poinsettias are optional but add a festive touch. Stacks of paper and books are a must. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! I'm gonna add this recipe to my recurring repertoire for 2024. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

gluten-free and dairy-free kabocha pumpkin and veggie chili (no beans)


I've made this for years, and originally borrowed it from Practical Paleo, where I think it was called Butternut Squash Chili or something similar. Here's my take with ingredients I can procure here in Japan. 

You'll need:
  • about 1 kg of ground meat (in Japan they have a mix of beef and pork)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes (about 450 g each)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • a bunch of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 of a kabocha pumpkin, chopped small
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Do this:

Cook your ground meat in a pan on the stove, then bung that with the rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker and whack it on high heat for the day. Enjoy with cornbread and salad and friends. Just don't eat the friends. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

french carrot salad (salade de carottes rapees)


(Check out the beautiful orange salad in the bottom right corner of the bento box.)

I don't know where I found this recipe, but it's absolutely sweet, vinegary, and citrusy, so I always double it. The recipe below is half of what I normally make, although finely grating two carrots is a chore in my book.

You'll need:

  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1/2 navel orange, segmented
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dill leaves (I always leave these out because I never have them)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Do this:

Combine and chill, man.